Carlos-Stafford-Main-1254709434Reviewed by Carlos Stafford, The Model Critic

Ellison Ballet

Year after year since its inception, the Ellison Ballet of New York has been on a upward trajectory.

May 15th and 16th performances clearly show a dynamic company that gets more and more professional on each outing, charming audiences with full-throttle energy, athleticism, and commitment.

As usual, the program highlights some of the fine moments from the classical repertory, and spiced this year with a few winning additions like Bournonville colorful and playful, Jockey Dance, staged crisply by Karina Elver, and the wild and breathtaking Khachaturian Waltz, that utilized the entire cast in a swirling gauzy delight.

But the bulk of the program was culled from a Giselle variation, Don Q, La Esmeralda, Flames of Paris, Paquita, and the like, and were uniformly performed with great energy, technical skill, and heart. From the outset, the dancers were well rehearsed and full of bright and clear talent.

A few dances stood out for their depth, quality, and astonishing delivery. Grand Pas Classique Pas De Deux, with the remarkable talented Juliette Bosco (even more noteworthy, is only 12), electrified, along with her able partner Theophilus Pilette. Bosco also displayed her considerable talents earlier in the progam in charming Harlequinade. The most striking feature about this young performer is her obvious stunning maturity and abundant confidence she brings to her roles. She possesses a dignity in her gaze, and a surity in her movements that is easily seen, and to be applauded. Pilette was a wonderful partner, who performed with a manly presence, and stuck the right balance in this very dramatic and exciting piece.

Carmen, staged by Ellison, to Bizet’s famous score was nothing if not a heart-thumping sexy, well-performed delight. Emily Neale was great fun as the strong-willed Carmen who takes what she wants and scorns the weak dogs who fall into her spell–a woman a man can’t resist, but nonetheless want to possess at their own peril. August Athuru Generalli danced Don Jose with an fine arc of development from stately military control, to broken man with superb clarity. Neale was truly outstanding in her gorgeous presence and seductiveness, and the two crackled the stage with their dangerous dance of death. The costumes, swirling caps, Escamillo (Kevin Zong), soldiers, and the huge cast of gypsies electrified the stage with fiery energy.

Ellison Ballet is the best they’ve ever been. The training and performance level is more and more professional, and it was a joy to see this great development through the years. We wish them all congratulations for a fine ten years, and best wishes to all these fine students, their developing careers, and to all the quality teaching offered at the school.

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